Fresno Police working to curb rise in domestic violence

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Police aren't sure why domestic violence is on the rise, but the numbers show a steady rise over the past three years. (KFSN)

A surge in domestic violence has Fresno Police and the District Attorney's office taking action.

Police aren't sure why domestic violence is on the rise, but the numbers show a steady rise over the past three years.

Law enforcement is urging the entire community to help deal with the problem.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says it's a problem the entire community needs to confront.

"It is so important for neighbors or family members that are aware of domestic violence to notify the police department so that we can intervene," he said.

District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says that involvement is needed because victims of domestic violence often fail to report the crime.

"After the incident is over, sometimes things calm down and often time victims recant, or change the story," Smittcamp explained.

If not caught, the perpetrators, nearly always men, are likely to increase the level of violence, and Dyer says it's a growing problem with the number of calls rising by hundreds every year.

There were more than 5,000 domestic violence calls to police last year, 400 more than the previous year.

This year police are seeing an average of 447 calls per month or 15 a day.

Dyer says alcohol and drug abuse are involved in 70 percent of the calls.

"Whenever there's pressures on the family," Dyer said. "Whenever there's alcohol and drugs I would say in well over 70 percent of cases of domestic violence there is drugs and alcohol involved in that situation."

And nearly half the time children witness the violence, which leads to mental and behavioral problems which can have long-term impacts.

"The effects of domestic violence are like a cancer, they spread through the family, through generations, through our communities," Smittcamp said.
Related Topics:
newsfresno police departmentfresnodomestic violencelisa sondergaard smittcampFresno
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